Lunch Box Series : LBS#14

Off late my lunch box seem to have mostly sambars! I know it's high time I change to a new menu. However today's menu was something I had been planning for many days. I wanted to prepare this Artikaya Fry / Plantain Stir Fry since JFI Banana. But could not prepare as I somehow never went vegetable shopping. Amma knows that Plantain and Arbi stir fries are my favorite ones. So she used to ensure I get this every week. But Athamma is not aware and so this never gets featured in our list.

When this weekend I happened to get the vegetables, I saw the plantain and remembered the many occasions Amma used to make it for me and I was nostalgic stuck. I had to buy this and prepare. Making this prefect is also quite difficult as we must have patience to keep stirring it and ensure it's not overcooked. When this plaintain fry is made in right way, there is nothing to beat it. You need to cut the plantain to small pieces but not very small. In Kadai just add that and with oil keep stirring it well. This takes some time maybe around 30 mins or so. But once we add the spices, we need to keep stirring. The result is, you get to bite on a mixture of crispy pieces and soft ones.

This goes well with Mullangi Sambar. Dad generally doesn't prefer Radish / Mullangi. When we ask for reasons he says he has one Mullangi at home so why he needs another! Well Amma's surname is that. Even hubby dear doesn't prefer Mullangi. I also know one other dear friend who dislikes Radish and Sambar. And now I have combined both into one dish, she may run away from this post entirely..:(...But Amma's Mullangi Sambar is not your regular one!

Another incident that comes to mind when I think of Mullangi Sambar is one fine afternoon we spent in Connur during our holidays. After a tiring travel, we reached the guest house to be welcomed by a hot meal prepared by the care taker. It was a chill afternoon and he brought in piping hot sambar with flumes escaping all over. Ahh! the taste of that Sambar could've well taken us to heaven. I think I hear Bee murmuring how can sambar take one to heaven, well don't worry Bee, I will give the address of that Caretaker. You can check for yourself...:)

Since hubby dear doesn't like Plantain Stir fry, prepared Bitter gourd Stir fry for him. He is so very fond of this that I really cant explain. I am yet to acquire the taste of this. I think by the time my daughter gets to the age of eating veggies properly I should eat it else I can't really tell her to eat right!

Today's Lunch Box had

Mullangi Sambar / Radish Sambar
Plain Rice
Kakara Kaya Vepudu / Bitter Gourd Stir Fry
Artikaya Fry / Plantain Sit Fry
Seasoned Curd Rice.

Mullangi Sambar

Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins

Ingredients Needed

Toor Dal - 1 cup
Mullangi / Radish - 150 gms
Sambar Onions - 100 gms
Sambar Powder - 1 tsp
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Tamarind pulp - small lime size
Coriander Leaves - few chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Turmeric a pinch

For Seasoning

Mustard Seeds + Urud Dal + Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - few
Garlic - 4 pods

Method to Prepare:

Clean Toor Dal and pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and turmeric. This makes it cook fast. Keep it for 1 whistle. Remove and let it cool down.

Chop Radish into 1" circles. Pressure it with Dal for another whistle. Keep it aside

Soak tamarind and extract pulp from it.

Soak Shallot (Sambar onions) for 5 mins, this way the skin comes out easily. Chop Onions and tomatoes.

Heat oil in a pan, add the seasoning ingredients. Then add chopped onions. Sauté till they are cooked, add tomatoes, Sambar powder. Cook till the tomatoes are soft.

Then add the cooked toor dal with Mullangi, tamarind pulp. The dal should be well cooked. We usually mash with pappu guthi, which a long wooden stick like ladle.

Cook on high flame for 5 mins, then simmer for 10 mins till its cooked well. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Kakara Kaya Vepudu / Bitter Gourd Stir Fry

Bitter Gourd - 150 gms
Onion - 1 small
Salt to taste
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp


Mustard Seeds + urud dal
Curry leaves

Groundnut powder/ Fried gram dal powder - 1 tbsp

Method to prepare:

Chop Onion into fine pieces.

Grate the outer skin and trim the ends of the Bitter gourd. If the seeds are hard, you need not add. But hubby dear likes everything in this karela.

Cut into small pieces or as per wish. I make it circles but Athamma chopped it very finely.

Heat oil in a kadai and sputter mustard and curry leaves. Then sauté the onions till they are brown. Then add Bitter gourd pieces. Sprinkle turmeric and salt. Cover and cook for 10 mins in sim. Then add chili powder and coriander powder and cook on open. This way it doesn't become soggy.

Then once the cereal is cooked, add in the gram powder and remove from flame.

Artikaya Fry / Plantain Sit Fry

Peel the outer skin of the Plantain and chop into fine pieces. Soak them in water till the oil is hot.

Heat a kadai with 1 tsp oil. Sputter with 1/2 tsp mustard and urud dal along with curry leaves. Then add the plantain pieces. Add a pinch of turmeric and salt. Cover and cook in sim for 10 mins. Then add 1/2 tsp chilli pw, 1/2 tsp coriander pw. and stir well so that all the pieces are well coated. Add another tsp of oil. Cook in open and keep stirring. The bottom should be slightly burnt or crisp. This is what gives more taste to the stir fry.

This fry goes so well with sambar and if I am there for lunch at home, Amma used to make this for me. Those lovely days, how I wish they are back here!

Sending the Bitter Gourd to Pooja from My Creative Ideas for her VOW: Bitter Gourd

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